Women's News from the Web

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Polygamy is about to be decriminalised in Utah. Is it good news for women?

Wed, 03/04/2020 - 23:30

Advocates say the criminalisation of polygamy made it hard for women who needed help to get it – and hope a new bill will allow them to step out of the shadows

Growing up in a polygamist community, Shirlee Draper heard stories about her father’s childhood – how he was pulled out from under his bed in a government raid and taken from his parents.

“I grew up with intense fear of outsiders,” Draper said. “We called people who drove into town that were not part of our community ‘kidnappers’. We knew that was a fate we could suffer as our parents had suffered.”

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Why can't a woman be proudly single – and still openly want to find love?

Wed, 03/04/2020 - 21:00

Women are rarely permitted to express romantic wants. But you can be strong and independent – and still want a loving relationship

Although Love Island officially ended on 23 February, it was pretty much game over 10 days earlier, when Netflix launched the vastly superior car crash of a reality TV show, Love Is Blind. Over three weeks, we watch participants date, profess their love and get engaged, but with one catch – they have never set eyes on each other. The toxic TV spawn of Dating in the Dark, The Circle and Married at First Sight, it is equal parts enchanting and excruciating, oscillating between the two at breakneck speed.

Love Is Blind is fascinating for several reasons, but what particularly captivates is how in love contestants are with the idea of being in love. They are essentially strapped on to a love conveyor belt with the sole intention of coming out of it married. Watching them be so candid makes me think about how rare it is to see women comfortably say that they want a relationship in such plain terms, without apology – even in less extreme circumstances.

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Nine out of 10 people found to be biased against women

Wed, 03/04/2020 - 19:01

Analysis of 75 countries reveals ‘shocking’ scale of global women’s rights backlash

Almost 90% of people are biased against women, according to a new index that highlights the “shocking” extent of the global backlash towards gender equality.

Despite progress in closing the equality gap, 91% of men and 86% of women hold at least one bias against women in relation to politics, economics, education, violence or reproductive rights.

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US supreme court takes up most high-profile abortion case in decades

Wed, 03/04/2020 - 09:56

Justice heard arguments on whether Louisiana can impose severe restrictions on abortion doctors in controversial case

The US supreme court heard arguments in the most high-profile abortion rights case in decades, on Wednesday morning.

The nine justices heard arguments on whether Louisiana can impose severe restrictions on abortion doctors, in a case that is controversial on several levels, June Medical Services v Russo. The restrictions would require doctors to have “admitting privileges” at local hospitals, which are difficult to obtain.

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Venezuela's president urges women to have six children each 'for good of the country'

Wed, 03/04/2020 - 08:55

Nicolás Maduro’s comment sparked outrage amid a deepening economic crisis that’s led to rising rates of child malnutrition

Millions of Venezuelans may have fled their country to escape a grinding socio-economic crisis, but the country’s embattled president has a novel solution: have more children.

“Give birth!” Nicolás Maduro, the Venezuelan president, said at a televised event promoting a women’s healthcare plan on Tuesday evening. “Every woman is to have six children! Every one! For the good of the country!”

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‘I asked three times for an epidural’: why are women being denied pain relief during childbirth?

Wed, 03/04/2020 - 05:40

A new report concludes that women are not being given epidurals and not being fully informed about pain relief by NHS trusts. Does a belief in natural births lie behind this?

Giving birth was, for Kate, like going “through a war”. She had repeatedly asked for an epidural; instead, she was allowed only gas and air and two paracetamol. She was “exhausted, dazed, torn, bloody and frightened” by the time her healthy son was placed in her arms.

“I asked three times for an epidural,” Kate says of her 26-hour labour to deliver her baby, who was back to back and breech. “The first time the midwives said I wasn’t far enough along. The second time, they said I didn’t need it. Finally, they said I was too far along.

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New blue plaques for women honour spies, artist and suffragettes

Wed, 03/04/2020 - 01:32

London scheme’s additions are part of effort to correct historical gender imbalance

Second world war spies, suffrage organisations and one of the most important British artists of the 20th century are to get blue plaques in a push to correct a historical gender imbalance.

The London scheme has been running since 1866 but only 14% of about 950 blue plaques celebrate women. In 2018 English Heritage called on the public for more nominations, saying the figure was “far too low”.

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'The prettiest member of the team': how sexism pervades UK charities

Tue, 03/03/2020 - 22:30

Most fundraisers are women. It’s time to stop calling them ‘girls’ and expecting them to seduce donors

After 10 years of meeting or exceeding targets for her charity employer, director of fundraising Anna* was introduced by the chair of trustees at the charity’s AGM as the “prettiest member of the executive group”.

Appalling? Yes. Unusual? Sadly not.

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Land girls hostel given listed status to mark women’s war work

Tue, 03/03/2020 - 14:01

Hut in Cheshire is one of few surviving buildings housing farmworkers who fed Britain

One of the last remaining Women’s Land Army (WLA) hostels has been given Grade II listed status for being “vitally important” in recognising women’s wartime efforts.

The humble hut, in Smallwood, Cheshire, is one of the few surviving WLA hostels, and has been listed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the advice of Historic England.

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Women work for free for two months a year, says TUC analysis

Tue, 03/03/2020 - 14:01

Women work an average of 63 unpaid days because of the gender pay gap, according to figures

Women work for free for two months a year as a result of the gender pay gap, according to analysis by the TUC. The trade union federation marked Wednesday as the first day of the year that the average woman effectively begins to get paid.

“Our economy is stacked against working women. At this rate, it will take another 50 years to close the gender pay gap,” said the TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady. “No more excuses: the government must get on and sort the gender pay gap now.”

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Fresh call for Oxford dictionaries to change 'sexist' definitions

Tue, 03/03/2020 - 06:48

Open letter continues drive to remove ‘damaging everyday sexism’ in its entries, such as citing ‘bitch’ as a synonym for woman

The leaders of Women’s Aid and the Women’s Equality party are among the signatories to an open letter calling on Oxford University Press to change its dictionaries’ “sexist” definitions of the word “woman”.

The letter points out that some Oxford Dictionaries’ definitions of the word include synonyms such as “bitch” and “maid”, and says that derogatory and sexist examples of usage include, “God, woman. Will you just listen?”

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James Franco accusers are 'jumping on the #MeToo bandwagon', say actor's lawyers

Tue, 03/03/2020 - 03:23

Franco denies allegations and asks Los Angeles county superior court to dismiss lawsuit against him

James Franco has responded to allegations of sexual harassment by two former students by claiming they were an attempt to “jump on the [#MeToo] bandwagon” and played into “the media’s insatiable appetite to ruin the next celebrity”.

In a demurrer filed on 28 February to the Los Angeles county superior court, Franco’s lawyers asked that the lawsuit filed in October by Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal be dismissed, saying none of the alleged events detailed had happened, and the statute of limitations had passed for the accusations.

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Women's prize for fiction lines up 'heavy hitters' on 2020 longlist

Mon, 03/02/2020 - 14:01

Three Booker winners lead a 16-strong field contending for £30,000 prize in what judges described as ‘an extraordinary year’

The Mirror and the Light isn’t published until Thursday, but the conclusion to Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall trilogy has already made the longlist for the Women’s prize for fiction.

Some of the biggest names in fiction are in direct competition this year for the £30,000 award, which celebrates “excellence, originality and accessibility in writing by women in English from across the world”. Mantel, who won the Booker price twice for the previous novels in her historical trilogy about the life of Thomas Cromwell, is up against two other Booker winners: Anne Enright’s Actress, in which a daughter explores her famous mother’s breakdown, and Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other, a polyphonic exploration of black womanhood. A prominent omission from the longlist is Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments, which jointly won the Booker with Evaristo’s novel last year.

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Women must have the right to organise. We will not be silenced | Suzanne Moore

Mon, 03/02/2020 - 08:15

The treatment of Selina Todd this weekend was a warning. We have to protect women’s sex-based rights

In February 1988, a group of lesbians abseiled into the House of Lords to protest against section 28; a few months later, Booan Temple disrupted the Six O’Clock News for the same cause. Margaret Thatcher had claimed the promotion of homosexuality was undermining the family, and as Sue Lawley read the news, you could hear Temple’s muffled shouts as Nicholas Witchell held her down. Gay men, gay women and their allies were all on the same side back then, in solidarity against Tory repression.

How we identified sexually was not paramount. We all read a lot of queer theory, but, more importantly, we knew that bodies existed in history, in a context, for we were seeing a generation wiped out by Aids. If you lived through that, solidarity took precedence over sexuality.

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New Zealand introduces endometriosis guidelines for doctors

Sun, 03/01/2020 - 16:18

A health taskforce has developed the nation’s first-ever best-practice principles for dealing with the debilitating disease

For the first time, best-practice guidelines will be introduced for doctors treating patients suffering from endometriosis in a bid to improve early detection and ease the suffering of a common but woefully undertreated disease.

According to the ministry of health [MoH] endometriosis affects one in 10 of New Zealand’s women and girls and delayed diagnosis is common, leading to delays in appropriate treatment and pain management.

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Argentina set to become first major Latin American country to legalise abortion

Sun, 03/01/2020 - 10:29

President Alberto Fernández says he intends to put a bill before congress in next 10 days

Argentina is on track to become the first major Latin American country to legalise abortion.

Its president, Alberto Fernández, said on Sunday that he intends to send a legal abortion bill to congress in the next 10 days.

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Housewives register their disapproval | Brief letters

Sun, 03/01/2020 - 08:10
National Housewives’ Register | The Greta generation | Coronavirus and handshakes | Marmalade tea | Misheard hymn lyrics

I have bittersweet memories of the National Housewives’ Register (G2, 27 February). Sometime around 1971, my friend Roy’s wife asked if I’d speak at a meeting of the local branch in High Wycombe. I did not take this seriously since they were, after all, only housewives. I was asked to talk about incomes policy. I was slaughtered, especially by an ex-Treasury mother, but all the others joined in. A field day for them, a humiliating lesson for me.
John Purcell

• I became a great-grandparent last week, and the joy and delight was mixed with such strong feelings of anxiety, depression and anger at the shitty world into which the little fellow has been born. Then I saw the protests by schoolchildren waiting to hear Greta Thunberg speak (Report, 29 February). My heart was lifted. Maybe there is some hope for him...
Maggie Warwick

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Older women are needlessly going blind. Why isn’t it a national scandal? | Dorothy Byrne

Sun, 03/01/2020 - 07:01
GPs regularly fail to diagnose giant cell arteritis, a disease that causes blindness in hundreds of women every year

Fifty years ago I witnessed how the NHS discriminates against older women. More recently, I have experienced it myself as part of what should be a national scandal – but it isn’t because it happens mainly to old women, so it’s tucked away on the health pages of newspapers or on specialist programmes.

When I was a teenager, I volunteered with friends to visit patients at my local hospital, the Victoria in Blackpool. We were sent to the female orthopaedic ward. It was a miserable place. The women just lay there; I never witnessed anyone receiving physiotherapy or any other form of therapy. It was the sort of place you would never wish to end up.

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After Weinstein, it’s time to say no to the cliched line that rape is about power, not sex | Sarah Ditum

Sat, 02/29/2020 - 21:00
The false divide forgets that for the rapist, it is very much about sex and gives cover to the sex industry

It’s one of those slogans that are well-intentioned, and memorable, and utterly wrong: “Rape is about power, not sex.”

After Harvey Weinstein’s conviction last week on one charge of rape and one of a criminal sex act, the phrase predictably made its appearance among the op-eds and commentary. And there are very good reasons for both its existence and its persistence. Drawing a hard, sharp line between “sex” and “power” was one of the strategies that the women’s movement used in the 20th century to undermine the patriarchal narrative about rape.

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Echoes of 1970 as row breaks out at celebration of feminist conference

Sat, 02/29/2020 - 09:00
Anger as Oxford historian Selina Todd is forced to pull out of speaking at Ruskin anniversary conference

The 50th anniversary of the first Women’s Liberation Conference in Oxford was planned as a celebration of social struggle and triumphant survival. But on Saturday morning the event quickly turned into an angry and full-throated demonstration of the ongoing arguments inside the movement.

The alleged “no platforming” of feminist historian Selina Todd the night before the conference prompted loud protests from the packed hall at the former site of Ruskin College, the spot of the original meeting in 1970. “This is cowardice. How can we do this to a woman who has worked all her life on behalf of other disenfranchised women?” asked Julie Bindel, the radical feminist writer.

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